Steven Kaufmann has more than 25 years of experience guiding his clients through their most difficult, high-stakes litigation. He has extensive commercial litigation, government enforcement, and trial experience, handling disputes and investigations in a range of industries including financial services, telecommunications, energy, real estate, logistics, and health care. He also has a strong background in class action defense in the financial services, securities, and antitrust areas.
Mr. Kaufmann is the former chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Litigation Department. He is also a former managing partner and head of litigation in its Denver office and a former chair of the firm’s Consumer Litigation and Class Action Practice Group.
In 2010, Mr. Kaufmann was appointed by President Obama to serve as the chief of staff at the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), an independent U.S. government development agency created to reduce poverty through long-term investments in impoverished countries. MCC has an annual operating budget of $1 billion and makes significant investments in African, Asian, and Latin American nations designed to eliminate obstacles to economic growth, including transportation and energy solutions. Mr. Kaufmann rejoined Morrison & Foerster in 2014.
In addition to his work in U.S. commercial litigation, class actions, and regulatory disputes, Mr. Kaufmann’s practice also focuses on representing investors as they navigate through the legal and regulatory issues associated with doing business in emerging and frontier markets.
Mr. Kaufmann serves on the board of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. He is the former board chair of both the Colorado Lawyers Committee and the Colorado I Have a Dream Foundation.
Mr. Kaufmann was named Colorado’s Top Lawyer in the area of management and litigation by Law Week Colorado and Best Lawyers in America listed him as a leader in the fields of antitrust and commercial litigation.
Mr. Kaufmann received his B.A. degree summa cum laude from Wesleyan University in 1980 and his J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan in 1984, where he was a member of the University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform. He is also a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Before law school, Mr. Kaufmann worked for the Washington, D.C. consulting firm ICF, Inc., where he undertook economic analyses of energy markets and related environmental issues. Mr. Kaufmann served as a law clerk to United States District Court Judge John L. Kane, Jr.
FTC v. NetSpend Corporation (N.D. Ga.).Defended prepaid card company in investigation by FTC and subsequent litigation about the scope of disclosures involving anti-money laundering compliance requirements. See Fed. Trade Comm’n v. NetSpend Corp., No. 1:16-cv-4203 (N.D. Ga. 2017).
Boulder Brands Securities Litigation Matters.Represented Boulder Brands in three lawsuits: a shareholder securities class action in which the district court granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss with prejudice, a related derivative action voluntarily dismissed, and a separate shareholder merger challenge settled based upon disclosure updates. See Okla. Police Pension & Ret. Sys. v. Boulder Brands, Inc., No. 15-cv-00679-MSK-KMT, 2017 wl 1148689 (D. Colo. Mar. 28, 2017); In re Boulder Brands, Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litig., 2015cv030492 (Dist. Ct. Boulder Cty. Colo. Apr. 29, 2016); In re Boulder Brands, Inc. Stockholder Litig., 2015cv031409 (Dist. Ct. Boulder Cty. Colo. Sept. 27, 2016).
Smashburger v. Prokupek (Del. Ch.).Represented a closely held LLC to obtain dismissal of books and records action and in settlement of unitholder valuation and breach of contract action against former CEO. See Prokupek v. Consumer Capital Partners LLC, C.A. No. 9918-VCN, 2014 WL 7452205 (Del. Ch. Dec. 30, 2014); Smashburger Master LLC v. Prokupek, No. 9898-VCN (Del. Ch. 2017).
In Re Advanced Emissions Solutions, Inc. Represented former executive in settlement of securities litigation, derivative litigation, and related SEC investigation. See SEC v. McKinnies, No. 1:17-cv-00566-JDB (D.D.C. Apr. 19, 2017); United Food & Commercial Workers Union and Participating Food Indus. Emp’rs Tri-State Pension Fund v. Advanced Emissions Solutions, Inc., No. 1:14-cv-01243-CMA-KMT (D. Colo. Feb. 10, 2017); Dull v. Durham, No. 2014-cv-30709 (Dist. Ct. Douglas Cty. Colo. Jan. 4, 2017).
Primary Residential Mortgage, Inc.Represented a Federal Housing Administration-approved Direct Endorsement lender in a Department of Justice and Department of Housing and Urban Development investigation and settlement of False Claims Act claims. (September 30, 2016).
North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute, et al. v. Stratch (M.D. NC).Represent citizens and voting rights organizations challenging North Carolina’s non-compliance with the National Voter Registration Act. Obtained a preliminary injunction before the November 2016 election. See North Carolina A. Philip Randolph Institute, et al. v. Stratch, No. 1:15-cv-01063-LCB-JEP (M.D. NC, 2016).
Chu v. Vringo, Inc. (Del. Ch. Ct.).Defended company and its directors in a derivative litigation suit challenging merger-related compensation decisions; dismissed without settlement at early stages of litigation. See Chu v. Perlman, No. 9669-VCG, 2014 WL 2738816 (Del. Ch. June 16, 2014).
In re Level 3 Communications, Inc. Securities Litigation (D. Colo.).Successful motion to dismiss securities class action with prejudice, affirmed by the Tenth Circuit. See In re Level 3 Commc’ns, Inc. Sec. Litig., Civil Action Nos. 09-cv-00200, 09-cv-00215, 09-cv-00296, 09-cv-00606 (PAB)(CBS), 2010 WL 5129524 (D. Colo. Dec. 10, 2010), aff’d, 667 F.3d 1331 (10th Cir. 2012).
UPS Capital Business Credit v. Biota Brands of America, Inc., et al. (Colo. State and Fed.).Successfully defended against lender liability claims in multiple courts involving complex procedural, receivership, and government oversight issues. See UPS Capital Bus. Credit v. Biota Brands of Am., Inc., No. 11CA1947 & 12CA0051, 2012 WL 6708584 (Colo. App. Dec. 27, 2012).
Quizno’s Corp. Securities Cases.Represented Quizno’s in a series of securities cases and appeal of dissenters’ rights litigation relating to the going private merger of the company. The matter included defending on appeal objectors’ challenge to the settlement of one of those cases. See Sebesta v. Schaden, 2006 Colo. App. LEXIS 732 (Colo. App. May 18, 2006), reh’g denied, 2006 Colo. App. LEXIS 1611 (Colo. App. Sept. 21, 2006), cert. denied, 2007 Colo. LEXIS 732 (Colo. Aug. 13, 2007).
Lucas v. Kmart Corporation (D. Colo).Counsel for Kmart in disability access class action. Case settled based upon plan for improvement of access across Kmart stores. See Lucas v. Kmart Corp., 234 F.R.D. 688 (D. Colo. 2006).
In re Excess Value Insurance Coverage Litigation (S.D.N.Y.).Counsel to UPS in 26 state and federal class actions asserting contract, tort, deceptive trade practices, RICO, and antitrust claims. After removal, consolidation in multidistrict litigation proceedings, and motions to dismiss that disposed of most claims for relief, the cases settled on terms favorable to defendants. See In re Excess Value Ins. Coverage Litig., No. M-21-84RMB, MDL-1339, 2004 WL 1724980 (S.D.N.Y. July 30, 2004).
Roe v. Gray, et al. (D. Colo.).Counsel for defendant American Fair Credit Association, Inc. in a consumer case relating to credit rehabilitation programs. See Roe v. Gray, 165 F. Supp. 2d 1164 (D. Colo. 2001).
Giardino, et al. v. Colorado State Board of Education, et al. (D. Colo.).Counsel for class of students in six poor school districts in this pro bono case relating to unsafe and inadequate schools. The case settled after start of trial based on new legislation providing for $190 million in statewide funding. In 2008, the Colorado legislature expanded on the scope of that settlement with the enactment of Building Excellent Schools Today (or B.E.S.T.). This groundbreaking legislation will provide $1 billion to repair and rebuild Colorado's crumbling schools.
In re Brand Name Prescription Drugs Antitrust Litigation (N.D. Ill.).Counsel for defendant Bergen Brunswig Corporation in antitrust price-fixing trial resulting in judgment for remaining defendants. See In re Brand Name Prescription Drugs Antitrust Litig., No. 94 C 897, MDL 997, 1999 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 550 (N.D. Ill.), aff’d, 186 F.3d 781 (7th Cir. 1999).
Peterson v. Mission Viejo Company (D. Colo.) (and 12 additional related federal court cases involving 39 plaintiffs).Counsel for defendant Mission Viejo Company in house construction defect cases. Class issues extensively litigated in state case, and case ultimately certified on certain limited claims and for a limited class. State case ultimately settled as to the class. Federal cases never certified as class action, and settled on an individual basis. Follow-on insurance claims successfully prosecuted for Mission Viejo Company and its successor, Shea Homes.
Krumbein v. NationsBank, N.A. (D. Colo.).Counsel for defendants in consumer case involving lending practices (case resolved based on nominal settlement). See Krumbein v. NationsBank, N.A., No. 99-cv-00295.
Steven Kaufmann is recommended as a leading lawyer by Best Lawyers In America 2010, Benchmark Litigation 2010 and Super Lawyers 2006-2010. Mr. Kaufmann was also featured by Law Week Colorado as one of its ‘Lawyers of the Year’ for 2008.
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